The ranks of top-rated booster seats continue to grow as manufacturers design models to earn high marks in the Institute’s annual booster seat evaluations, plus offer the style and convenience parents look for when it’s time to pick a safe seat for their booster-age children.
Among the 41 models new for 2014, there are 27 BEST BET seats — more than in any prior year — and three GOOD BETs. Eight boosters are in a category the Institute calls “Check Fit,” and there are three new models that the Institute doesn’t recommend using as boosters. Prices for BEST BET boosters start around $25 and go up to about $370, depending on features, and several models are LATCH compatible.
Boosters earn a rating of BEST BET, GOOD BET, Check Fit or Not Recommended, based on a protocol that involves measuring how three-point lap and shoulder belts fit a child-size test dummy seated in the booster on a stationary test fixture. Measurements are taken under four conditions spanning the range of safety belt configurations in passenger vehicles. The evaluations focus on belt fit and don’t involve crash tests.
A BEST BET booster correctly positions belts on a typical 4-to-8-year-old child in almost any car, minivan or SUV. A GOOD BET provides acceptable belt fit in most vehicles. Correct belt fit means that the lap belt lies flat across a child’s upper thighs, and the shoulder belt crosses snugly over the middle of the shoulder.
The Check Fit designation means that the booster may provide good belt fit for some children in some vehicles, but not as many as boosters that earn either of the top two ratings. Belt fit can vary depending on child size and vehicle model. Before buying these boosters, parents should try them out to see if they properly position safety belts on their children in the vehicles they will ride in.
In addition to information on models new this year, IIHS maintains ratings for older booster seats still on the market. Altogether, IIHS has ratings for 69 BEST BET and eight GOOD BET boosters, 35 Check Fit boosters and five Not Recommended seats for 2014.
Children should stay in a harness-equipped child restraint in the back seat as long as possible, up to the height and weight limits of the seat as recommended by the seat manufacturer. Parents can find this information on the child seat label and in the instruction manual. When children outgrow child restraints, they should use boosters until adult belts fit properly. For some children, that’s not until about age 12.
Children ages 4-8 in boosters are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in crashes than kids restrained by belts alone. Children who are using improperly fitted belts are at risk of a host of crash injuries known as “seat belt syndrome.” These include spine injuries and internal organ injuries. Boosters help by elevating a child into position and guiding the belts for better protection.
What’s new for CDR Version 14.2?
Bosch has launched CDR Tool support for Toyota vehicles. Additionally, MY2015 vehicle support was added for many vehicles. Refer to the CDR Help File for more detailed coverage information. New Vehicle Coverage
Ford (MY2015, US/Canada Markets)
General Motors (MY2015, US/Canada Market)
Added many SDM module IDs for currently supported vehicles
Jeep (MY2015, all supported markets)
– Grand Cherokee
Lexus (MY2015, all supported markets)
– RC F
Toyota/Lexus/Scion (Various MY2001 – MY2015, Japan Market)
– Toyota: 86, Allion, Alphard, Aqua, Auris, Avalon, Avensis, Belta, Blade, Brevis, Camry, Celsior, Century, Comfort, Corolla, Crown, Dyna, Estima, FunCargo, Harrier, HiAce, Hilux, ISIS, ist, Kluger, LandCruiser Prado, Majesta, Mark II, Mark X, Mark X Zio, Noah, Porte, Premio, Prius, Probox, Progres, Ractis, Raum, RAV4, Rukus, Rumion, SAI, Sienna, Soarer, Spade, Succeed, Surf, Toyoace, Vanguard, Verso-S, Vios, Voxy, Wish, Yaris
– Lexus: CT200h, ES, GS, GX, HS, IS, IS-F, LF-A, LS, LX, NX, RC F, RC350, RX, SC
– Scion: iQ, xA, xD
The Bosch CDR system supports select airbag modules for vehicle as far back as 1996. To see if the pre-crash data from your vehicle’s airbag module can be downloaded please see the BOSCH CDR Coverage List.
Veritech engineers utilize the Bosch CDR system as an important tool to aid in performing vehicle accident reconstructions. Airbag modules are capable of recording valuable pre-crash information, such as vehicle speed, brake application and seatbelt usage, but are not capable of telling the entire story. Accident reconstruction engineers must still consider all of the available physical evidence, along with the ACM data, in to order to properly reconstruct an accident. Veritech Consulting Engineering employs Professional Engineers who are specifically trained and certified in the use of the Bosch CDR system and have performed numerous accident reconstructions utilizing airbag module information. Click on the following link for more information on “black box” technology.
Each year, millions of vehicles are recalled in the United States due to safety defects or noncompliance with federal safety standards. To help car buyers, owners and renters know that their vehicles are safe and their safety defects have been address, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has unveiled a new, free, online search tool consumers can use to find out if a vehicle is directly impacted by a recall.
The new tool is available on www.safercar.gov/vinlookup and provides consumers with a quick and easy way to identify uncompleted recalls by entering their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). All major light vehicle and motorcycle brands can be searched. Also effective today, under the new NHTSA mandate, all major light vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers are required to provide VIN search capability for uncompleted recalls on their own websites. This data must be updated at least weekly. NHTSA’s new VIN look-up tool directly relies on information from all major automakers, and regularly updated information from the automakers is critical to the efficacy of the search tool.
Consumers can find their vehicle identification number by looking at the dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle, or on the driver’s side door on the door post where the door latches when it is closed.
“Just as every single automaker should never hesitate to recall a defective vehicle, consumers should never hesitate to get their recalled vehicle fixed,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman. “By making individual VIN searches readily available, we’re providing another service to consumers – the peace of mind knowing that the vehicle they own, or that they are thinking of buying or renting, is free of safety defects.”